I'm a sucker for cute, so when I saw the mini marshmallows at the local Amish market, I couldn't resist. When I say mini, I don't mean like you get in the bags at the grocery store. I mean mini like you would get in a packet of hot chocolate, only not dehydrated. I already had those on hand, so when I went to Boston to visit a friend a while back and came across a great deal on the mini dessert glasses at Ocean State Job Lot, I couldn't pass them up. I thought the two would work perfectly together to come up with this Cocoa Panna Cotta.
I actually served these as a dessert on Christmas Eve this year. I thought that I had already posted them, but I must just be remembering the pics I uploaded to Facebook of what we ate. The candy canes may be dated at this point, but it's definitely still cocoa weather ~ although of course, these won't warm you up on a cold night.
1 packet unflavored gelatin
3 T cold water
1 pint heavy cream
1/3 c sugar
3 T Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa
1/4 c milk
1 t vanilla
mini marshmallows for garnish
mini candy canes for garnish
Stir the gelatin into the cold water and set aside to bloom.
Over medium-high heat, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and cream. Let that come to a boil, then simmer until slightly thickened. I was surprised by how long it took the cocoa to combine into the cream. If you have any little lumps that don't want to cooperate, you can press them against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon so that they break up and spread into the liquid.
Remove from heat and whisk in the gelatin, then add the additional milk and vanilla.
If you are going to be serving it in a container, there is no need for it, but if you will be inverting the panna cotta out of some sort of mold(s), you will want to lightly mist the mold(s) with cooking spray first.
I found a Tupperware container in the cabinet that was the perfect size to hold all eight of my little glasses, so I tucked them into that to make it easier to transfer into the fridge. To avoid any splashing, I decided to pour the mixture into a little funnel over each cup.
Refrigerate until set, then garnish as desired. I had a package of candy canes that I hadn't done anything with yet, so I decided to include those as well.
I wanted to keep it plain so I would have a true sense of how it worked out with the cocoa, but now that I've used it, I'll feel free to play next time and replace the milk component with some Kahlua or maybe White Chocolate Godiva Liqueur. Mmmmmmm!